Archive for August, 2006

Design

August 27, 2006

design

Not many updates recently, I’ve been quite busy with study related work and havn’t had time to do much. I’ve been working on a new blog design though, and will be hosting it off site from wordpress. I want to make the theme myself and have the freedom to change what I want, not just the style sheet. I’ll have more time to start on some things I have in my to do list soon which will be good! 2 things are at the top of the list and they will be reveled in time! …hopefully quite soon too!

I’ve also been quite unproductive because I’m getting a new hard-drive next week which will replace my current one so I’m reluctant to start any work or install programs!

You do what?

August 22, 2006

I often get asked what I am studying and/or what I want to do when I finish next year. I think about this for a little and respond with “I work with computers” or , “I’m a computer programmer”. If this sounds like you the post ‘Well, It’s Quite Hard to Explain‘ is a good laugh.

DBMS for basic application data storage

August 19, 2006

An application I am making requires a basic DBMS and it would be ideal if I could have this as a standalone file without having to install mySQL or another service based DBMS on a users computer when it is not necessary. Microsoft Access files definately do the job but I’d like an alternative. All the file needs to do is store the SQL data and provide a DBMS engine. I don’t need any of the visual functions (form creation, etc).

I’ll proberly end up going with OO.o Base 2 due to the simplicity. The other alternatives include: looking for or implementing an XML based storage solution, using an object database to directly save objects, using an API based database engine or as mentioned installing mySQL on the client.

For quick and easy implementation it is much easier to use a datafile, ODBC, and SQL. I’ll install OO.o Base 2 and see what I come up with, still have assignments that I need to get done at the moment though!

The BLINK tag; quote from creator

August 17, 2006

Missed this tag? (I actually used the tag for this line but wordpress stripped it!)

I was looking at the Wikipedia entry for Lou Montulli, creator of the <blink> tag in the Netscape based browsers and also creator of the Lynx web browser and thought this quote was worth sharing:

The inventor of the blink tag, Lou Montulli, has said repeatedly in interviews that he considers “the blink tag to be the worst thing I’ve ever done for the Internet”.

Internet Explorer does not support the blink tag even in its CSS implementation, not a bad thing! It’s also not part of the official HTML specification.

So heres my tribute to the web element ‘BLINK’ gone but not forgotten!

*buntu CDs arrive

August 17, 2006

I recieved a package a couple of days ago with a bunch of kubuntu and ubuntu CD’s. I work a few hours a week as a lab assistant for a Linux class between classes and will have no trouble distributing these CD’s around I’m sure! The CDs function as both a live CD and installer and available from the ubuntu shipit service. If you have yet to try this excellent desktop OS the CD images can be downloaded from the site, or you can order single CD’s.

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Self-returning methods

August 15, 2006

I was reading a post titled Avoid a void at http://codeforfun.wordpress.com/ on the subject of using self-returning methods in an API. A very good and informative read (the author has quite a humorous writing style too).

There was a comment on the post linking to an article called Java theory and practice: Enable initialization atomicity at IBM developer works. This is a more detailed article on self-returning methods or ‘the self-return idiom’ complete with examples and is very well written.

Something to consider when designing methods as not only can it improve your own readability it can also be very productive as represented by the single statement examples (no temporary variables).

WordPress Upgrades

August 14, 2006

I just noticed wordpress now has an ‘upgrades’ option on the admin page. This allows access to certian features by purchasing credits via paypal. A very good idea and I hope it works well for WordPress.

Currently for $15 USD you can access the custom CSS plugin that is included in the download of WordPress for a year. I think if the wordpress hosting suits you this is a very worthwhile upgrade and it is something I’m considering. I’ve been wanting to host myself  for some time, but as I only need to host this blog at the moment it hasn’t been worthwhile to get a hosting account, and I like the community integration. I’d like to host some friends blogs though which would give me more reason to set up on my own.

I might load this theme on my local server and have a play with the CSS styles and see what I come up with! I’m not much of a designer but I’d like to change some colours, fonts etc.

There is another new feature, ‘Tag surfer’ which displays recent blog posts with the same categories as you have. I have found some great blogs tonight so look forward to using this more!

Time to get some sleep I think!

…and I’m still copy pasting!

Blogging, CMS, and the return of usability

August 14, 2006

It seems that every website you come across these days is based on some kind of ‘blog’ engine or template, or to put it simply, they are using a content management system.

I think this is a good thing; The templates are designed for easy reading, quick loading and are not image intensive. The navigation is plain text html, not some hard to use flash interface, and often clicking the title of the page at the top takes you straight to the home page. Add to that the availability of rss feeds, tags, and more frequent updates due to the managed backend, the quality of browsing is greatly improved!

A nice change from complex tables with many images to get a ‘box’ design, or the chopped up photoshop image interfaces, not to mention I havn’t seen a flash intro in a long time! Things are looking good!

I guess the high contrasts and rounded boxes are up for discussion though 😉

WordPress auto save feature

August 12, 2006

Writing my last post I noticed an auto draft saving feature appear, this is very welcomed as for a long time I have been copying my posts to the clipboard before publishing due to the few too many occasions I have lost a whole post for whatever reason 🙂

It’ll proberly take a bit to break the habbit now but an excellent feature WordPress!

Java based RSS reader

August 12, 2006

As regular viewers will know I have been wanting to make a RSS reader for some time, mostly because it is something that interests and will be a great learning experience.

I have decided that I will do it in Java/Swing, and not delphi as originally intended. I want it to be as portable as possible and want to extend my java knowledge as this is the type of job I will be looking for next year.

That plan of attack is to use a JEditorPane and send a ‘chunk’ of xml (parsed) to it via a stylesheet to be viewed. For example I will have a tree on the left with the subscribed feeds, expanding a feed will display each topic in the feed, clicking that topic will then display the contents for that topic in the JEditorPane, as html via XML/XSL conversion.

This is somewhat to compensate for Java Swing’s embarrassingly lacking HTML/XML rendering components.

I read the article: Sun should Open Source Swing: what is bad for Gosling is good for propaganda over at O’REILLY, which echos my view. Very well written and informative article.

As per suggested in the article I may look for an opensouce XML rendering component at JavaDesktop instead of using the JEditorPane.
Either way, I’m looking forward to getting this up and running!